My husband went ahead of me to Nigeria as the company needed him urgently and came back shortly for me after I delivered my baby girl in Malaysia.
The unforgettable year 2000, the year I followed my husband to Nigeria and the beginning of a new chapter of my life as an expatriate wife in Africa. We boarded British Airways to Nigeria. I was very excited and full of anticipation and hope.
Our flight transited at the busy Heathrow International Airport, London. We were later taken by the airport bus to Gatwick International (Gatwick) to continue our flight to Lagos, Nigeria. I was captivated by the calm and peaceful scenery from the short journey to Gatwick Airport. The people we met in the airport were polite and helpful. So far everything went on smoothly and I was in a very good mood.
While waiting to board for our connecting flight at Gatwick, I suddenly realised that almost the whole passengers in the Boarding Gate were Nigerians. My very first experience to be surrounded by so many Nigerians in my life . The Nigerians were blessed with wonderful physical body. The Nigerian man was well built and tall while the Nigerian woman had beautiful curvy body shape and tall as well.
Most of the Nigerian passengers carried big hand luggage and some were as big as the check-in luggage bag! The air stewards were kind to allow them to bring to the plane but some hand luggage were simply too big and had to be removed and put in as cargo.
We were fortunate as we were able to put our hand luggage in the upper luggage compartment but those who board the plane later than us had to put theirs under the seats. As the Nigerians had bigger physique than their counterparts in East Africa, the seats seemed too small and uncomfortable for them. Nevertheless, the flight from Gatwick to Lagos was boisterous than the earlier flight. It was full of activities, passengers were chatting away happily or busy asking the air stewards for wine and other beverages. I did not know if this was due to the Nigerian passengers who were loud and chatty or it was a day flight, or may be both. To be fair, among the Nigerian passengers, they were some very distinguished looking Nigerians who were polite and with impressive behaviour.
Before going to Nigeria, my husband had told me about the poor situation in Nigeria. I thought I was prepared to face the worst. I braced myself that I had visited some rural villages in China, war torn countries such as Cambodia & Vietnam and a number of small outskirt villages without proper basic necessities in Indonesia and Sabah. Nothing could possible surprise me, so I thought!